Lord of War

Rated 3.0

A Ukrainian immigrant (Nicolas Cage) goes from penny-ante street-thug gun sales to international arms dealing with some of the world’s most ruthless dictators. The press materials speak of the antihero “facing his own conscience,” but in director Andrew Niccol’s script, he remains unrepentant even as his own family pays a steep price. One obvious inspiration is Martin Scorsese’s GoodFellas (like that 1990 classic, Niccol’s movie depends on long passages of narration by the protagonist), but Niccol can’t match the headlong pace or resist a preachy, hectoring air (Scorsese never berated his audience for tolerating gangsters). The movie’s too flippant for good drama and not funny enough for satire, but the morbidly fascinating subject and Cage’s reptilian performance hold our interest.